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Amazon drivers could be owed thousands in employee rights claims

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Written by: Emma Lunn
13/10/2021
Drivers delivering for Amazon could be entitled to an average of £10,500 compensation for each year they have worked for the online retailer, according to Leigh Day.

The law firm has launched an employee rights claim on behalf of drivers and believes that Amazon could owe drivers a total £140m in compensation.

Currently drivers making deliveries on behalf of Amazon via Amazon’s ‘Delivery Service Partners’ (DSPs) are classified as self-employed. This means they don’t benefit from employees’ rights such as holiday pay, the National Minimum Wage and an employment contract.

But Leigh Day believes that at least 3,000 drivers could be able to claim for employee rights due to the way Amazon dictates drivers’ work and how they fit into Amazon’s business.

Drivers told Leigh Day they are given estimated timings between deliveries via an app which they have to meet. They also said they are not able to bring parcels back to the depot so must use extra fuel to redeliver at the end of the day. This combined with charges for van rental, fuel, and insurance can leave them with very little earnings.

As well as Amazon, Leigh Day is bringing similar claims against Uber, Addison Lee, delivery company Stuart and used vehicle marketplace BCA.

One delivery driver told Leigh Day: “The work is horrendous because Amazon control everything you do. There were times I was out on delivery, and I’d stop for a few minutes, and they’d ring up and ask why I was parked up.

“The money I was earning wasn’t anywhere close to covering my rent and bills. In one week, I worked 36 hours over four days and I should have earned £464 but they gave me £2.74. It doesn’t sound believable but it’s true. I was very unhappy delivering for them. Effectively I was paying them to do their deliveries, rather than the other way around.”

Kate Robinson, a solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said: “From what we have heard from our clients it appears that Amazon is short-changing drivers making deliveries on their behalf. This is disgraceful behaviour from a company that makes billions of pounds a year. Drivers delivering for Amazon have to work set shifts and book time off, yet Amazon claim they are self-employed.

“Paying out compensation of £140m sounds like a large bill to foot, but for a company that turned a profit of £5.8bn in the first three months of 2021, it’s a drop in the ocean. For drivers on the other hand, earning at least National Minimum Wage, getting holiday pay and being under a proper employment contract could be life changing.

“It’s time for Amazon to stop putting profit above people and give delivery drivers the employment rights they deserve.”

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